STONE COLD FRIDAY: All That And A Bag Of Chips

Of course he wasn’t going to. There’s a better chance of Britain getting a new Prime Minister within the next 12 months, than Stan Kroenke answering Arsenal shareholders’ questions at the AGM. YW alluded to the big fat clue that was the Telegraph article on Wednesday. It’s a tactic straight out of Chapter 6 Section 4 of “The Good Guide to PR Smoke and Mirrors”.

Sir Chips clearly picked up the baton left by his predecessor. It’s hard to tell who between Sir Chips and our Peter Hill-Wood did a better Keystone Cops impression at chairing the AGM. As to the question of whether Silent Stan will address the AGM, the response was as comical as it was contemptuous – ‘Go read the newspaper son, that’s why he did the interview’.

We didn’t even need Russian hackers to interfere with elections at the AGM. They just changed the rules of the game right there in front of everyone. “The audacity of the shareholders at the AGM”, the baffled board must have thought. How can 3% of them deny a motion to reappoint Sir Chips and young Josh Kroenke to the board? Not rocking the boat is Usmanov’s stance at the AGM, so the motion went through. A bloody nose? A statement of dissent? All that and still ignored.

Ask Ivan Gazidis and he’ll swear to you that Arsenal are consistently performing better and better. He of course does that management thing of qualifying a baffling statement with your own metrics which define success. Confirmation that the business side of the game is taken more seriously at Arsenal than football. Kroenke has a stable ship and he’s not going to rock it for anyone so long as the business side makes sense.

And They Think That They Have Got The Battle Won

Perhaps that’s what our Ivan was doing tucking into a sumptuous meal at a trendy Italian restaurant in the Tribeca district in New York. Only, he wasn’t alone. Not that many New Yorkers would even glance at a table that had our Ivan; Liverpool’s owner John W Henry (he of the “I wonder what they’re smoking down there at the Emirates” statement); Manchester United’s Vice-Chair Ed Woodwood; and Avram and Joel Glazer.

With Premier League clubs in an 11-9 deadlock on the changes the big 6 clubs want, you have to ask why the break-away faction. Or maybe nobody really likes Chelsea, Man City and Tottenham. Either way, it is likely that more money will be thrown at the Premier League, especially with the entry of Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon and Alibaba –5 of the 7 biggest tech industry giants – looking to enter the streaming market.

Yesterday’s AGM gave the feeling of “same ‘ole, same ‘ole”. It didn’t help that Sir Chips decided to shut shop early, prematurely closing the proceedings.

Now where have we heard this script before? No prizes for guessing. A version of it always comes from Arséne at recent AGM’s. The first time I consciously noted the “support the team and judge me in May” plea was in 2009. If my memory serves me well, that was the AGM that a supporter called Almunia and Silvestre geriatrics, and demanded they be pensioned off.

They Know Not What They’ve Done

9 games in and we’re 9 points behind the leaders. Are we still challengers? Ask most people and they’ll tell you – hell no. The same people will also tell you Chelsea, who we’re tied with are challengers and still in the mix. Perhaps we have form and people are right to pre-empt our annual meltdown. Maybe there is something different this season. A rare chance to sensibly rotate the squad and keep the 1st XI fresh for the Premier League.

The second string are showing their consistency and hunger in the cup competitions so far. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. I’m getting less disappointed that we didn’t make the Champions League only to crash out in the last 16. It was tedious. As we progress in the Europa League, we will still be amongst the favourites to win the competition. No need being in it and not trying to win. If it’s good for other European giants – Manchester United and Chelsea included, then its good enough for us. This is our station in life at the moment.

Back to the Premier League. The response at Goodison Park was exactly what the doctor ordered. The Swans present another opportunity tomorrow for redemption and to get the momentum going. We will need that momentum if we’re going to prove that Man City are really just flat track bullies. We’ve done it before when they said we couldn’t, we can certainly do it again.

Have a great weekend.

16 thoughts on “STONE COLD FRIDAY: All That And A Bag Of Chips

  1. To Damon, carried over from yesterday’s post:

    With you 100% on that. Last year the focus was mainly ‘Wenger Out’ but in some strange way the board will probably have done AW a favour and the focus may shift to ‘Kroenke/Chips/Ivan Out’ or at least a combination of the two.

    Even an unlikely league success would be despite rather than because of these people, and I don’t think that it would save them in the long term. More likely though is that the shit will well and truly hit the fan later this season and we’ll see some serious trouble. And they will be forced to care because it will damage the ‘brand’. When sponsors take note and start to look elsewhere Stan will have to either make changes, or even walk away if it gets really bad.

    Any way you look at it there are only three choices, walk away, continue to suck up Stan’s crap, or get militant. I’m for option #3.

  2. I think that believing things will be different this year is a very slim straw to be grasping. Similar has been said for over a decade and it hasn’t happened yet.

    Last season after our 3-0 success at home to the Blues Chelsea sat eight points behind a Manchester City side with a 100% record and +13 goal difference after six games. Arsenal by contrast were third five points behind. We all know how the season panned out so the suggestion that Chelsea could still come good has recent history to back it up. To find similar evidence to make that claim of AFC you’d have to go back around twenty years.

  3. For those interested, these are the notes made by the AST at the AGM.

    ‘Write up of today’s Arsenal AGM
    Please find to follow a report written by AST member Tim Stillman of today’s meeting. It is intended as a minute of the meeting covering everything addressed. Opinion and views on the meeting can be found elsewhere in the media.

    The AST is grateful to Tim for taking the time to write this up so quickly so that all members can read about all of the the topics raised.

    —————————————————————————————————————————

    This will serve as a detailed minute, as opposed to a verbatim account. But I trust that I have reflected the comments and events faithfully. The 2017 Arsenal Annual General Meeting was attended by, approximately, 130 shareholders and media in the Woolwich Suite of Arsenal’s Club Level facility. In fact, there weren’t quite enough seats for everybody.

    The FA Cup and Community Shield trophies were on display as the board of directors climbed to the stage to take their seats, the presence of both trophies noted by chairman Sir Chips Keswick in his opening address.

    The chairman explained that all questions had been submitted in advance and, where necessary, questions would be grouped together by theme for the sake of brevity. Full questions were displayed on screens around Club Level for people to see and so that the chairman could summarise them where necessary. But all submitted questions were to be addressed.

    The first order of business was to answer questions concerning the accounts.

    Q: The 2016-17 accounts show a £9m (13%) increase in ‘other football costs’ from £70m to £79m. The explanation given is that USA tour costs, partnership costs, extra security, legend match proceeds and a £1m surplus property provision are behind this increase. The level of increase is unprecedented in the absence of a management fee and more surprising in view of the reduced number of home games last season (including no Emirates Cup). Can the Board explain how it has cost an average of over £2m a year more for the items listed? Surely there must be other factors at work? Please provide a fuller breakdown of the increase.

    Answer summarised below.
    Increase in support structures around the club, such as coaching staff, performance staff, player salaries, the women’s team and the academy.
    More commercial partners require greater outlying costs to support. Ivan is comfortable that the commercial revenue far outstrips the cost required to service partners.
    Increased cost to support pre-season tour of the US in 2016.
    An additional £4 reduction on all away tickets, a cost met by the club.
    Increased business rates
    The need for greater security measures in light of increased terrorist threat around the capital.
    One off costs, including dilapidation costs off lease expiring on property site
    Only related company costs are to Arsenal Broadband, which are disclosed in the accounts.

    Q: Ivan Gazidis’ total pay package remained £2.6m this year including a bonus of £919,000. Yet the Club’s performance in football performance (falling from 2nd to 5th place – no Champions League) and predicted income – falling by up to£20m on the Club’s own estimate. Can the Board please justify this payment and give a more comprehensive answer than to say it was a decision made by the remuneration committee?

    Sir Chips Keswick’s answer is summarised below:

    Bonuses are decided by the remuneration committee, chaired by Lord Harris and attended by Sir Chips Keswick.
    Based on wide range of financial targets based over longer period of time than one season.
    Upgrade of Hale End Academy facility and London Colney
    Remuneration must be competitive with other big football clubs in order to continue to attract talent.
    The chairman outlined his belief that Ivan Gazidis is “doing a first class job that I and the board are thankful for.”

    The formal part of the meeting then followed, with 5 resolutions put before the shareholders.

    Resolution 1 to receive the accounts, carried.
    Resolution 2 to reappoint Deloitte as auditors, carried.
    Resolution 3 to authorise the directors to determine the remuneration of the auditors, carried.
    Resolution 4 to reappoint Sir Chips Keswick, who retires by rotation, as Chairman. The resolution was defeated by a show of hands from the floor. Club Secretary David Miles invited the floor to vote again, with the proviso that the board held proxies voting in favour of Sir Chips’ re-election worth 97% of the total vote. The resolution was again defeated from the floor and, in accordance with governance procedures, a poll was sought and voting cards handed out to the floor.
    Resolution 5 to reappoint Josh Kroenke as a Director, who retires by rotation. The resolution was defeated by a show of hands from the floor. Club Secretary David Miles invited the floor to vote again, with the proviso that the board held proxies voting in favour of Sir Chips’ re-election worth 97% of the total vote. The resolution was again defeated from the floor and, in accordance with governance procedures, a poll was sought and voting cards handed out to the floor.

    The results of both polls will be made known at a later date, but with 97% of the proxies in favour of re-electing Sir Chips Keswick and Stan Kroenke, the motion was carried.

    At this point, CEO Ivan Gazidis spoke briefly, but promised not to subject the audience to “death by powerpoint” as in previous years, but showed a video showcasing some of the positive work Arsenal Football Club does, investing in its women’s team, facilities, people and communities- both in Islington and overseas. Initiatives highlighted in the video are summarised below:
    Player purchases
    Investments in London Colney and Hale End facilities, as well as an upgrade in Club Level facilities
    Disability platforms, such as the club’s new sensory room and the Arsenal for Everyone matchday against Brighton & Hove Albion recently
    The club’s new Innovation Lab
    The club’s commercial revenue for last year totalled £117m, with £100m on matchday revenue. The remainder of the £424m revenue was made up by broadcasting rights.

    Following the video, Arsene Wenger addressed the audience with a short speech, which I have summarised:
    Arsene says he spends 99% of his time trying to keep fans happy. “Looking at today, that is not easy!”
    Mr. Wenger says that, for him, a club is about the past, the present and the future and that football is always a little ahead of society in its attitudes and culture.
    He admits that “the weight of the present is heavy” and that each game brings absolute judgement.
    Arsene says he has “guided the club with one idea- it is about the values of the club created in the past.” He says he feels obligated to protect and respect those values with “integrity and total commitment”, adding “I will not betray the people that gave these values.”
    Says that the present and winning is the “essential part of my job”, but that he also wants fans to be entertained by the style of play.
    Arsene stresses that he respects the commitment of the fans, but there is a danger in the current climate of instant gratification. He asks that fans “be behind the team.”
    One of Arsenal’s values is giving a chance to young people.
    He outlines that the concentration of finances in the modern game is very small and the game is becoming more competitive and more predictable as a result.
    Wenger finishes by saying that “my hunger and my desire are stronger than ever” and says “whatever happens to me one day, I will always love this club.”

    The pre-submitted questions that do not concern the accounts are addressed at this juncture. Again, I have summarised the questions and the answers.

    Q: What are the club doing to address the ticketing situation with the recent game against FC Koln, where many thousands of seats in the home end were taken by visiting supporters?

    IG: Controls are in place to prevent this, but touts purchased and sold tickets at a very high volume for this fixture. Ivan admitted that many made their way into the wrong hands as a result of the club’s ‘Friends and Family’ scheme, which would be reviewed in light of the events of the evening.
    He confirmed that many memberships have been cancelled due to links with touting on the night, but investigations are continuing and more memberships will be cancelled if found guilty of this practice. Around 1,000 memberships a season are cancelled as the club attempt to fight touting.

    Q: What steps are the club taking to compete for the Premier League title?

    IG: All resources are made available for the club to spend on improving the team, be it on playing staff, coaching staff or on facilities. Over £200m has been spent on transfers in the last 2 years and £40m on facility upgrades, as well as new coaching staff, performance staff and additions to the negotiating team.

    Q: The CEO suggested in 2013 that Arsenal could be similar to Bayern Munich. Has anyone taken a close look at how the decision-making process is made at Bayern, who are a member of an elite group of clubs Arsenal aspire to join, to see what can be learned from their organisational structure and division of key roles, especially regarding their strategy towards playing staff? Previously the Chairman has indicated that all such decisions are left to the manager – is this still the preferred modus operandi for the Arsenal directors?

    IG: Arsenal have, but Bayern operate in a very different football environment. Many clubs come to Arsenal too, who are seen as a standard bearer. Most big football structures have a chief decision maker, be it the Sporting Director or the Head Coach. At Arsenal, the Head Coach is the chief decision maker, supported by a wide network of support staff.

    Q: Would Mr. Kroenke consider increasing his engagement levels with the club or else selling his shares, because he seems to care little?
    SCK: “You are wrong.” Mr. Kroenke in constant contact with myself and the board and he totally shares our ambitions for the club. As to whether he will sell his shareholding, that is a matter for him, but I would point to the statement made by SKE on the 22nd May this year.

    Q: In May 2013 the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust commissioned an independent review of corporate governance at Arsenal. This report, and the failings it identified, have been well-publicised. In particular it identified an ageing board lacking in diversity, without the breadth of skills required to run a modern professional football club. All of the non-executive directors have been in office for far too long and are not regarded as independent under the corporate governance code. There is therefore no independence from the controlling shareholder, no one free of conflict of interest and no one on the board with professional football playing experience. When is the Board going to address these significant corporate governance failings, appoint a number of truly independent non-executive directors capable of challenging the majority shareholder and who will act in the interests of shareholders as a whole? In a membership survey conducted this month 92% of AST members said that they believed that Alisher Usmanov, who holds a 30% equity stake in Arsenal through Red & White Holdings, should be offered a place on the Arsenal Board? Why has the Board not offered a directorship to Alisher Usmanov?

    SCK: This is a diverse, modern organisation and we were the first football club to achieve the advanced equality standard, a project driven by this board. We are aware of the need to regenerate as we inevitably get older. All of the directors want what is best for the club and its shareholders. Alisher Usmanov has not been offered a place on the board and that policy will continue.

    IG: Sir Chips has huge experience of leadership and board positions in a number of high profile organisations, including the Bank of England and Hambros Bank. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and is a lifelong Arsenal fan. He is an independent and forthright voice, not beholden to anyone. The board is lucky to have such a wealth of experience in a committed Arsenal fan.

    Q: The Director’s Box often appears to be half empty, can the club take steps to fill it, perhaps by holding a raffle to invite shareholders or other club members to sit in it when seats are not filled?

    IG: All of the seats are allocated. Occasionally people cannot attend at the last minute, but all seats are vouched for. Club uses Directors Box seats to invite representatives such as ‘Kick It Out’, ‘Show Racism the Red Card’, we use it for distinguished former players, current players in the women’s team as well as Directors of the opposing team and their guests.

    Q: Can the club consider its approach towards ticket pricing to make it more affordable?

    IG: All stadium revenue is reinvested into the club and we have to strike a balance between making it affordable for our fans and keeping the team competitive, but we continue to review our pricing and provide cheaper tickets in the Europa League, the Carabao Cup and for teenagers.

    Q: With the PUMA and Emirates commercial partnerships representing over two thirds of commercial income and described as “mid-term” what do Arsenal intend to do to close the near £100m commercial income differential with Manchester United and substantial shortfall to other leading EPL and European clubs? Chelsea triggered a termination clause to buy out Adidas and more than double its annual income from a new deal with Nike. Would Arsenal consider a similar early termination with PUMA if a substantial uplift could not be re-negotiated?

    IG: Commercial revenue grew again this year and Arsenal has a record number of secondary partners. The pre-season tour to Australia and China was the biggest the club has put on to date. The board cannot discuss negotiations with Puma publicly. In 2012-13, commercial revenue was £62m, this year it is £117m.

    Q: Can the club say more about its transfer policy. Players such as Gabriel and Lucas Perez have been disregarded quickly and Arsenal tried to get rid of Shkodran Mustafi after one season too.

    IG: With regard to transfers, there is a lot of inaccurate and incomplete information that drives opinion and narrative, which leads to a lot of noise. Arsenal did not try to ‘offload’ Mustafi this summer.

    But there is an objective, industry standard to compare money spent against football performance (that is, league position, league points and trophies won). Arsenal are one of the most consistently overperforming teams in the world against this measure. But we acknowledge that we have to find ways to perform better and we will continue to do that.

    Q: Can the Club explain why it is facing an unprecedented number of senior players being on contracts in their last or penultimate year? What action is being taken to prevent this happening in the future and are further appointments expected to replace Dick Law?

    IG: Again, there is lots of incomplete and inaccurate information on this issue. People outside of the club do not know what goes on in those negotiations and what demands are being made. One of the more emotive AGMs was after we sold Robin van Persie and we were told we were only serious about making money.

    This time, with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil we have taken a different approach to give the team the best chance to compete. Transfer fees are going up and so are salaries. Many clubs are facing this issue.

    Relatively, the financial impact of Champions League football is not as big now due to increased commercial revenues and broadcast money. But obviously the main thing is that it is a sporting disappointment not to be in it, but recruitment of players not dependent on it. If it were, Arsenal would still be considered a good club to come to considering our unrivalled record of qualifying for it.

    Q: The AST welcomed the decision to reduce ticket prices this season for the Europa League competition compared to the Champions League pricing. As the report and accounts demonstrate, income from broadcasting continues to surge ahead. Can the Board confirm they remain committed to the position that general admission prices will be frozen for the full period of the existing TV contract and therefore that this will cover next season as well?

    IG: We have held season ticket prices for 9 out of our 12 seasons at the Emirates and we will continue to try to make tickets affordable. But no decision has been taken for 2018-19 yet.

    Q: The problem of there being large numbers of empty seats at the Emirates was greater than ever last year. In the past the principle of home credits to encourage those not using their seats to put them back in the ticket exchange has been acknowledged but no change has occurred. Please can the Club address in more detail the specific issue of home credits and what holds back their implementation – cost?, technology?, policy? – and indicate when and how these obstacles will be overcome?

    IG: Our ticket exchange system is working well. Over 100,000 people sold or transferred tickets through our systems last season. The board has looked into the idea of home credits, but don’t see it as a total solution. Instead we are focussing on other initiatives, such as donating unused seats to the Arsenal Foundation. We will also look to do greater promotion of existing schemes.

    Q: Arsene Wenger himself admitted that the uncertainty around his contract situation was highly disruptive to the team’s end of season performances. What has the Board learnt from the way this was handled and will a decision on the manager’s future be taken any earlier than May 2019 in a bid to avoid more confusion?

    IG: Arsene Wenger does have targets, but it isn’t helpful to the club or their aims to make them public. We also don’t want to publicise a pre-existing schedule for 2019 either, because it would create innuendo and speculation that would not be helpful to the club.

    Arsene has great experience, values and quality. Winning 3 out of 4 FA Cups is impressive and something we can all be proud of. But our ambition is to win the Premier League. It is impossible to quantify how much is needed to win the league, many clubs have spent many billions trying to win it. More important is to invest well. We have to excel more than every other club in every single area to do so and we will continue to try and do that.

    Q: Does the Board recognise that the appeal of the Premier League is founded on the basis that any team can beat any other team in a one-off match? A redistribution of income that further separates the biggest clubs from the rest will undoubtedly harm competition and the vast majority of fans are against it. Will the Board publicly state Arsenal’s commitment to upholding the current equal distribution of overseas TV money?

    IG: Arsenal support the collective model and the competitiveness it creates. The Premier League is one of the most competitive in the world and that accounts for a large part of its popularity. The team that finishes top of the Premier League earns just 1.5 times more than the team that finishes bottom in the current overseas rights model.

    In France, it is 3.8 to 1 and in Germany, the league closest to the Premier League’s egalitarian structure, it is 3.1 to 1. Premier League teams need to be able to compete with biggest teams from other leagues so that an English club can win the Champions League again. There were no Premier League players named in the latest FIFPRO World XI. Under the new proposal, the Premier League would remain the most egalitarian in Europe.

    So concluded the pre-submitted questions. Sir Chips invited people to the microphone to ask unvetted questions, though he admitted that the period for unvetted questions would be abbreviated due to the length of time taken to vote on Resolution 4 and 5 of the meeting.

    Q: The AGM is an important meeting for shareholders to question the board and should not be regarded as an inconvenience. We appreciate the need for pre-submitted questions so we can have full answers. But lots of questions arise as a result of the answers and time ought to be taken to address those questions. Can the board commit to making the meeting half an hour longer next year?

    SCK: That wasn’t a question, you made a statement. (After some shouting from the floor, Sir Chips readdresses the question). We will consider it.

    Q: Every year I ask whether the board will assess its composition and the diversity of its composition and every year I am told ‘we will look into it.’ Can the board tell me what it is doing to assess this?

    Sir Chips invites the next question without answering, which draws an angry reaction from the floor. Mr. Gazidis and Mr. Keswick plead with the crowd to stop shouting. The questioner asks the question again. Sir Chips declines to answer.

    Q: Can Stan Kroenke say something to his fellow shareholders? Can he talk to us about his vision?

    SCK: I am afraid that is not on the agenda, but if you read the Daily Telegraph today you will find out.

    After further commotion from the floor, the chairman declares the meeting closed to the sound of booing. After which, Mr. Keswick invites the floor to “write in if you have a problem.”’

  4. Thanks, Bob.
    Reading that through, it sounds to me as though they view their most invested fans largely with contempt and as an irritant.

  5. I cannot agree with your quote ‘The second string are showing their consistency and hunger in the cup competitions so far’. They struggled to get past lower league teams Doncaster and Norwich.
    What Tuesday night’s match showed us was the limitations of nearly all of them especially Elneny, Walcott, Coquelin, & Iwobi whom Wenger seems to think are first team material. None of these would get anywhere near the first eleven of all the other top PL teams ( and most of those even lower teams).
    We need a complete shaking out of this squad and a load of quality replacements. I cannot see this happening under Wenger; I thought that was what he was supposed to be doing at the end of last season.

  6. Isaac,

    That is a quality Post and ranks up there as a professional standard article. Well done and thank you.

    You have obviously got an audience who agrees very much with what you have written and the thoughts of Andy, Wavey and other stalwarts, who are long standing Arsenal supporters cannot be dismissed lightly, and as they represent many other fans views too, so the Arsenal Hierarchy would be well advised to listen to them.

    And then there are people like me — well, maybe it is only me — because none of the choices Andy proffered is an option I could accept; “walk away, continue to suck up Stan’s crap, or get militant”, so where does that leave me?

    Well, I am just a simple supporter, no more and no less.

    I am a Gooner, and support the Arsenal thru the team. My aspirations are for the team to win. I want to see the best players available play for the Arsenal and entertain me, and if possible, to win things, and win often, and that will allow me to brag that ‘they are the greatest team the world has ever seen’.

    The above is reserved for the team – I do not ‘support’ the current owners of the club, or the previous owners, or the others before them, and frankly, if it was not the technological era we live in, I would not know their names and would not want to – and I would not care.

    AGMs, and management interviews? At the end of the day I have no control over them, and I refuse to be a catspaw, manipulated or involved through any of the sanctimonious nonsense that exudes from the BoD – I only want to watch and support Arsenal, and I will continue to do so, whoever the owners are.

    None of these people, Kroenke, Gazidiz, and others running the club, know or care about the likes of me — and the feeling is mutual. They should shut up and stop trying to bend my ear or influence my opinion – I am quite capable of thinking for myself.

    I admire and respect many of my fellow bloggers on here, especially Andy, and he and they have every right to decide what is right for them, and act accordingly, but words like militancy and war? That’s not for me.

    So the options set out by Andy do not suit my personality.

    As a fan, I support the Gunners because of the joy, and the entertainment they have given me, and still give me, and hopefully will continue to give me in the future, so my loyalty is squarely with the team – not the owner or the managers.

    Back to you Isaac — the above probably makes it clear that enjoyment is important to me in this ever sh*ttier world — and your writing gives me a deal of pleasure — so thank you, again.

  7. HenryB,

    Of course it’s perfectly okay to focus on the team and opt out of all this kerfuffle about the underlying custodianship of the club. If it didn’t impact on results then I suspect that the majority of our global fan base would probably agree with you. Ultimately though for me I believe that this regime has already damaged our on the field performances and will continue to do so, almost eliminating any chance of us winning either of the big two trophies while they remain.

    Not that we are entitled to expect trophies. But I do think that if we are genuinely still a sporting organisation rather than just a business then we should be seen to be doing everything we can to achieve that. And I’m far from convinced that we are under Kroenke and his minions. If we try and fail, then fair enough. If we don’t try as hard as we might then that’s not good enough in my book.

    Then of course there is the blatant contempt for their ‘customers’ who as we all know pay some of the highest prices (if not the highest) in football to watch their ‘product’. Knowing that you’re being taken for a ride certainly doesn’t improve the ‘customer experience’. They don’t even try to hide it.

    That’s why I find it difficult to let all the off field shenanigans go, and why I’ll be one of those protesting (peacefully) when things next come to a head.

  8. I cannot find anything to disagree with there, Andy.

    Re-reading my own comment, I feel I may have come over a bit of a goody two shoes, and I regret that if anyone thinks that is the case.

    Actually, leaving aside the words I used, I really do believe what I said.
    However, as a fan, I do also reserve the right to behave as any fan would.
    I will moan, loudly, if I do not agree with the way the team has been set up – or if the wrong players are played out of position (double whammy there) 🙂 and if I do not agree with the manager or what he says, then I will say so too. [I am sure you have read comments when I have expressed my disappointment). 😀

    There has been stagnation, or at least the perception of stagnation, at the club for some time, and hopes were, wrongly, raised months ago when Gazidis was talking about ‘chaos’ which would lead to change’ – so even within the club hierocracy some of them must have sensed that need.

    And I, too, believe change is needed — but the only way that will happen, it seems, is when old Father Time puts in an appearance.
    In the meantime, I will still be drawn to watch all the Arsenal games I can, like a witless moth drawn to a flame!! 😀

  9. Where is that scallywag. C??

    I wanted to ask what you know about Berkay Ozcan, who is apparently a good friend of Özil — tho I am not sure that is necessarily a good thing? 🙂

    It has all gone quiet on the Draxler front and I was wondering if you had gleaned any information on him? I guess he would only join us if Theo left in January, altho’ Mr Wenger says he wants him to stay — which will please you — me? not so much! 🙂

  10. HenryB,

    Thank you my friend Henry B. Glad to know that the writing is appreciated. I like you, want to enjoy the football. Every time Arsenal is playing – my preference is to listen to Dan Roebuck of Arsenal TV do the commentary, my socks roll up and down. I can guarantee you, I feel like shit when we lose, but when we win, it’s also a damn good feeling. For draws, I try to rationalize, but all in all, I want the players on the pitch to do well.

  11. Thanks for the post I Odumbe Kute.
    Thanks to all who took the time to make the proceedings from the AGM available.
    You are all appreciated!

  12. Isaac,

    Your description of your reaction to Arsenal’s wins/loses/draws is exactly the way I am too — can’t say I noticed the motion of my socks tho’! 😀

  13. This is a great blog. My favourite actually. Although I am an old guy now, (and a corporate solicitor)who has supported the club since the Fairs Cup win in 1970, I stopped watching Arsenal games (live or screened) this season, the first time since 1970, as it is clear the club has lost its connection to the supporters. With SKE having a controlling stake and not even allowing the 30% shareholder onto the Board (his legal right but it says a lot) and with almost complete contempt for supporter views (see the excellent AGM notes posted) my interest has finally waned. AFC is now a vehicle to support SKE’s USA enterprises, which need better balance sheets. We also know the outcome of every season under Wenger, a slow downward trajectory, but for SKE, Wenger represents is a perfect asset from a corporate financing standpoint. Just so boring now. zzzz. I read the blog just to wake up. Thanks for that.

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